Don’t be fooled by the fact that Delta Spirit’s new album is self-titled.  This is the California  5-piece band’s third full-length studio album.  Lead singer and front man Matt Vasquez told Rolling Stone  that this release is self-titled because the band has found the sound that they were looking to achieve and just “ran with it” to produce this album.

This third album follows indie-rock gems Ode to Sunshine and History From Below which had a more folky sound.  I would have to agree with Mr. Vasquez in saying that their sound is much more refined by this album.  It is evident through listening that they know their vision and are headed in a focused direction.  From the first track “Empty House”, one can tell that this will have more electric guitar presence than ever before.  Throughout the album, Vasquez and his crew seem to seamlessly glide through musical styles, speeding up and slowing down like on the track “Time Bomb”, ultimately creating many quasi-anthems that are easy to remember.

The album itself contains much more than the Bob Dylan-esque folk guitar present in old songs like “People Turn Around”, “Trash Can” and “People C’Mon”.  This very style, which attracted so many people in the past, is still the base of most of the songs, but the instrumentation is much more complex.  Songs like “Time Bomb”, “California”, and “Home” are more akin to something like Arcade Fire than folk-acoustic.

That being said, Delta Spirit are not doing something out of their league with their transition.  Their ambition in finding a new sound is adequately placed, not forced.  There are some moments throughout where you can tell that they still are working on perfecting how they want to sound, but that is to be expected with the fresh new look they have.  The San Diego based quintet is used to indie stardom, playing Coachella and Lollapalooza in the past.  I would look for them to possibly blow up this year.

Quite frankly, this is the best album I have heard of 2012 so far.  I wouldn’t be surprised if it ended up on some “Best of 2012” lists.  There are minor imperfections, but as I said, it is to be expected.  Delta Spirit has demonstrated through their self-titled album that they are one of the emerging indie-rock powers of this year.

Rating: W – P – G  1/2

Key Tracks: “California”, “Money Saves” and “Time Bomb”

RIYL: Arcade Fire, Dr. Dog, and Fleet Foxes

Check Out: “California“ 

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